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Real Humans of Amazon: Christine Moore, Washington Foster MBA ’22, Senior Product Manager

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Christine Moore found that the MBA at Washington Foster was exactly what she needed for the complex projects and challenges she would tackle in her career. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, find out how Foster prepared Moore to move successfully into a new industry at Amazon.

Christine Moore, Washington Foster MBA ’22, Senior Product Manager at Amazon

Age: 32
Hometown: Catonsville, MD
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Maryland, Communications
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): University of Washington, Foster School of Business
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 6 years, healthcare 
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 8 months, Fashion/Tech

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I was at a point in my career where I didn’t see many growth opportunities. I loved working in the healthcare marketing space, but I wanted to take on more strategic responsibilities and develop stronger leadership skills. Ultimately, I viewed the MBA as a chance to surround myself with smart people to challenge me and push me towards those goals.

Why Foster? What factors figured most prominently in your decision of where to apply?
I knew early on that Foster was my top choice school. Joining a smaller program would allow me to build intimate relationships with more of my classmates, which was a major priority. Foster also has great connections with the tech industry, which has been rapidly moving into the healthcare space, and that I thought would be a great fit for me given my industry experience. Lastly, Foster has top-notch job placement rates and affordable tuition (by business school standards), so it felt like an easy pragmatic choice to apply and enroll.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
I had the unique pleasure of serving as a Fritzky Fellow (a mentoring and leadership-building program) and also as an Executive Vice President for the program. Both of these positions provided me with direct access to meet with C-suite and executive leaders at well-known companies. Whether it was a small group meeting or a 1-1, I loved hearing about how a diverse set of leaders solved problems or considered competing viewpoints when making decisions. My role today is a blend of product management and business development work, so I’m constantly juggling different perspectives of internal stakeholders while also interfacing with Amazon’s selling partners on a daily basis. What I learned from these conversations with top leaders has been instrumental to navigating professional relationships while also advocating for customer and selling partner needs.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned as a Senior Program Manager at Tableau. For my core project, I led program operations to scale up support for Tableau’s customers. Tableau’s customer base has been growing quickly, and the company needed a scalable solution for meeting the needs of that increasing customer base. 

Through this internship, I realized that I enjoyed having a complex, ambiguous project to grapple with. I really liked the mental challenge of talking with a bunch of different internal SMEs in Tableau and bringing people from different workstreams together. As the PM, sometimes you’re the only person with full visibility into what everyone is doing at any given time, so you have the responsibility to point out where you see discrepancies, bring those people together, and then discuss and align on the best path forward. This is something I practice at Amazon every day. While I absolutely loved my role, company, and product, the internship helped me realize that I wanted to be more closely tied to customers. Shifting to product management felt like the natural choice that blended the skills I learned from my internship with having a direct impact on customers.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently in your decision of where to work?
Well, I knew I wanted to have a more tangible impact on customers, and Foster has an incredible recruiting pipeline with Amazon, one of the most customer-obsessed companies in the world. Amazon also offers a wide range of continuing growth opportunities. It’s a huge company with constant innovation throughout the organization. With the flexibility of internal transfers, I will always have exciting options for interesting and challenging work.

Additionally, I wanted to continue developing leadership skills that I’d focused on during business school, so I applied to Amazon through the Retail Leadership Development Program (RLDP). It’s a rotational program that, by design, ensures each participant is exposed to different work areas for a more holistic view of how the business operates. My first rotation is about 10 months away, and I can’t wait to see what the next opportunity is!

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
It hasn’t really affected my career plans. I started the MBA program in June 2020, early in the pandemic. From the start, I had decided to keep an open mind about different industries and career tracks. I didn’t want to pursue only one specific thing and potentially shut off other cool and fulfilling avenues. Since I wasn’t limited to any single concrete idea, there was nothing COVID could do to impact or disrupt my trajectory. 

Advice to current MBA students:
–What’s one thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Taking a shot on opportunities that you don’t think you’re qualified for. For me, imposter syndrome is something that I have to proactively manage. It’s easy to feel like you’re not going to get the job/ internship you want, especially when you’re surrounded by so many exceptional peers. I’ve since realized the importance of chasing down stretch goals and just applying for the roles you want, however aspirational they may feel. Fun fact: when I applied for an Amazon internship, I was initially rejected. But I learned so much at Tableau, and it helped boost my confidence when I reapplied and landed my full-time offer from Amazon!

–What is one thing you’d change or do differently?
I would have worried less. I think most MBA students can relate to the intense pressure to land an offer, and that pressure just intensifies when you see friends and people around you getting offers and landing really cool opportunities. Spending your time and energy worrying doesn’t actually help you be better, it just makes you anxious and distracted, and that’s not the positive mindset which you need going into an interview.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
It was so fast! After submitting my application, I got invited to do the online assessment within less than 24 hours. From there, I had my four-person interview loop scheduled a week later, and received my offer letter within 48 hours of the interviews. I was also pleasantly surprised when two people from my interview loop reached out after I received my offer to check on me and answer any questions about the role. I didn’t expect such a high-touch and thoughtful effort from such a large company. It all felt very genuine. They weren’t trying to hard sell me on joining Amazon. Instead, the conversations centered around addressing questions I had so I could make an informed choice about whether or not it was the right fit for me. I’m sure interviewers interact with dozens of candidates on a regular basis, so it felt extremely thoughtful that these individuals took the time to have a personal conversation with me.

–What piece of advice you wish you had been given during your MBA?
I actually was given this advice, but I didn’t heed it: 

Don’t be too heavily invested in finding the perfect dream job that will last the rest of your life coming straight out of your MBA. In every role, there’s something to learn, and you should trust your ability to make changes whenever you need to.

At Amazon, I’ve seen how there’s always room to grow. People here switch teams or roles internally all the time and are constantly chasing new ways to develop, both personally and professionally. Coming in through the RLDP, I was excited to land a “Senior Product Manager” role for my first rotation. However, I quickly realized that it was not a pure product management role. At first, I was frustrated since I wasn’t as interested in the business development aspect of the job, but I’ve since learned to really appreciate the opportunities that my role has. It’s given me cool ways to interact with awesome Fashion brands every day that most PMs don’t get to have, and I know I’m developing skills that will be extremely useful in a traditional PM capacity and that’ll make me an even better PM when the time comes.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.